Physician Outlook

Hip-Hop Public Health's Founder Dr. Olajide Williams

Accomplished author and creator of Hip-Hop Public Health Organization, Dr. Olajide Williams is working hard to change perceptions around the COVID-19 Vaccine. As the Co-Chair of Columbia University's Medical Campus Anti-Racism Task Force, his message of health awareness and his dedication to medicine are shown through his everyday actions.

Dr. Olajide Williams is a Neurologist whose core belief is that patient care should be a physician's first priority. Dr. Williams believes that all patients should be cared for equally regardless of their race, educational or economic status. He is a tenured Professor of Neurology and Associate Dean of Community Research and Engagement at Columbia University and the Chief of Staff for the Department of Neurology at the Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons, and a global leader in health disparities and behavior change in communities of color.

In addition to his neurological practice and a professor of neurology, he is the Principal Investigator for multiple large National Institute of Health (NIH), serving as an investigator and awards initiator. He is also serving on several national panels on health disparities, including the 2021-2026 National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke Strategic Planning Committee. As an influential clinician-educator, Dr. Williams is a member of Columbia University's and Virginia Apgar Academy of Medical Educators and sits on the medical school's Committee on Education Policy and Curriculum (CEPC). He is co-Chair of the Academy of Community and Public Service, co-Chair of Columbia University's Medical Campus Anti-Racism Task Force, and co-director of the Columbia University Community Wellness Center. He is also a board member of the Partnership for a Healthier America, whose honorary chair is former First Lady Michelle Obama, where he helps guide health equity-related activities.

Dr. Williams is the author and co-author of several books and has published numerous scholarly peer-reviewed articles, including the November 2020 AHA Presidential Advisory on Structural Racism. To promote his mission for health awareness, Dr. Williams created the Hip-Hop Public Health Organization. The Hip-Hop Public Health is an internationally recognized organization that works with iconic Hip Hop influencers to promote healthy behaviors, health literacy, and health equity through the platform of art, music, and science.

Dr. Williams is an expert on the COVID-19 vaccine acceptance in communities of color and COVID-related health disparities. His passion and belief in health awareness, dedication to medicine, and humanitarian services have earned him prestigious international, national, regional, and local awards. These awards include the European Stroke Research Foundation Investigator of the Year, two-time Columbia University Outstanding Teacher of the Year, American Heart Association's Trailblazer, and a National Humanism in Medicine award from the Association of American Medical Colleges. Dr. Williams was named on Fast Company Magazine's 100 Most Creative People list, Root 100's most influential Blacks in America list, Advertising Age's Creative 50 list, and consecutive New York Magazine's Best Doctors list. He holds a medical degree from the Medical University of Lagos, Nigeria, where he completed a postdoctoral fellowship in medical neurology.

With the help of Lori Rose Benson, Hip-Hop Health's Executive Director and CEO, the two are changing the way people think about vaccines and healthcare. Lori has a history of working with people to improve their overall wellness, prevent illness, and more importantly dealing with chronic disease prevention programs. The latest series released by Hip-Hop Public Health is the Community Immunity: A Rap anthology about Vaccines. A suite of resources that is aimed at increasing COVID-19 vaccine coverage in communities of color. These short 60 second videos feature an underlying hip-hop track with a unique rap verse incorporating vaccine as a part of the social norm. The goal of the program? To achieve 80% of the population vaccinated so that herd immunity is achieved and we are all safer from COVID-19.


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